These veterans and abused wolves are helping each other heal
They're changing each other's lives for the better. ❤️
Elijah Chan

Did you know that living with wolves gives a different kind of healing?

In Ventura County, California, man and beast live together to heal each other. Dr. Lorin Linder started the rescue shelter mainly focusing on wolfdogs, wolves, coyotes, and foxes who needed care.

And alongside these animals were combat veterans who were fighting their own battles as well. The main goal? For these animals and servicemen to be rehabilitated.

The sanctuary is known as Lockwood Animal Rescue Center.

According to their website, they want to introduce a different kind of rehabilitation program, especially for those who sustained PTSD during service.

Not everyone is comfortable with conventional therapy practices. What Lockwood offers is a place for veterans to heal together with an animal who also has its own scars. And with the glory of nature in their background, these animals, men, and women can go back to the basics of connection.

But the sanctuary didn’t start out as a wolfdog rescue shelter.

When the founders met and got married, they moved into Ventura County. The first plan was for them to rescue horses that were being used in pharmaceutical experiments specifically for menopause drugs.

Then, while at a horse rescue, they saw a strange-looking dog. It was bigger and seemed much more feral. It turns out that the dog was a wolfdog.

Breeders in the area were mixing wolves and dogs and selling them off as premium breeds or trophy pets. Unsuspecting buyers then realize that they were raising wild animals. Once they learn the truth, they give up or abandon these animals.

These kinds of dogs have a low chance of getting re-homed so they end up being euthanized.

Knowing that shelters that cater to these kinds of dogs were always full, the founders established a new non-profit to address the gap.

At first, their only goal is to raise awareness and redirect attention to this special breed of dogs. They wanted to educate the people since this breed was being euthanized disproportionately compared to other breeds.

And to help them with that goal, they turned to one of the most underappreciated sectors of society.

The shelter started the Warrior and Wolves program. Their aim is to reintegrate veterans into society by giving them employment and improving their social skills.

They introduced what they call an “eco-therapeutic” approach to rehabilitation. Compared to confined spaces, bright lights, and crowded settings, they offer an open-air area away from the hustle and bustle.

More than that, they give veterans a sense of purpose.

They get to have a chance to contribute and participate in society while the sanctuary helps them stay clean and sober.

But for the founders, the cause is also personal. They both came from military families so they knew the struggle.

And for these veterans, Lockwood believes that all they need is unconditional companionship.

“The two species understand each other. They both suffer from similar traumatic experiences.” Linder said to PEOPLE. “Domesticated animals are great as companions and healers but part-wild or wild animals do not have to allow you in their pack, and when they choose you – that is magic.”

But what’s more magical is seeing both species rise above and heal from their wounds, or if not, be confident to carry them.

Watch how these wolves are changing the lives of these veterans.

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By Elijah Chan
Elijah Chan is a contributor at SBLY Media.